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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2026

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Attorney-General and I refer to the recent announcement by the Minister for Manufacturing Industry that the Government has decided to encourage inventors in Australia by providing grants. Is it a fact that 40 per cent of patents taken out this year would in all probability be invalid? As the Government decision that I referred to will undoubtedly result in more patents being taken out, can the AttorneyGeneral say whether the present search system employed by patent attorneys is effective in affording protection to aspiring inventors? If this 40 per cent invalidity is correct, and as the application for a patent involves the applicant in considerable expense in patent attorney fees, will the Attorney-General examine the methods now employed in this area so that an inventor issued with a patent can be assured that he is afforded complete protection against the intrusion of similar devices from overseas and within Australia?

Senator MURPHY -I shall refer the matter to the Minister for Science. This area used to be under the Attorney-General's Department but some 1 8 months ago it was transferred to the Department of Science. This is perhaps more sensible than having it under the Attorney-General's Department although patent attorneys are involved. The problem that the honourable senator has referred to is a very difficult one. It is a most complicated area all over the world and not even the wit of Albert Einstein, who was once employed in a patents office, was able to resolve the kind of difficulty to which the honourable senator refers. If there can be some improvement in dealing with this matter so as to make it easier for inventors, I am sure that the Minister for Science will endeavour to achieve it.

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